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1 in 2000: The Goblin Who Plays the Thompson Bells

Gnibheerk posing for his WSO photo.

There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes of Williams College. Most students often don’t know who makes their food, who replaces their toilet paper, or who writes Haystack articles. Even worse, many don’t know who plays the Thompson bells. Students often enjoy hearing a slightly off tune, very off meter “Here Comes the Sun,” “Singing in the Rain,” or even occasionally Kanye and Lil Pump’s “I Love it.”

That’s where Gnibheerk comes in. Gnibheerk is a goblin from the land of Narth, who immigrated to Williams to play the bells for us. “He materialized one day in the early dawn mist, wearing a warlocks cloak and holding a walking stick, and we were like ‘the job is yours,’” said Dean Marlene Sandstrom. Gnibheerk is one of three goblins currently working on campus. “Everybody assumes we know each other since we’re the only goblins here, as if all goblins know each other,” said Gnibheerk, rolling his eyes. “I think the other two work in development.”

Every morning at 6 am, Gnibheerk awakens from his slumber and rolls out of his goblin hole, conveniently located underneath the Bronfman construction site. From there, Gnibheerk heads to lift with the swim team to keep fit. “Yeah Gnibheerk’s the man,” said Tom Greenfield, captain of the team. “He’s only 3’2” but he can squat, like, 250 lbs. He also ate one of the new frosh we didn’t like, which was pretty dope.” From lift, Gnibherk heads to breakfast at 7 am in Paresky, where he eats avocado toast and entire live duck provided to him by Dining Services.

Then he heads to Thompson Tower, where he spends most of the day spitting on tour groups. At 3:00 pm he prepares to play the bells. As of now, the school has asked Gnibheerk to stick to music humans would be familiar with, and while Gnibheerk likes Katy Perry’s “Firework,” he’s hoping to one day bring some music from his home country to Williamstown. His favorites are “Oogbarth’s Battle Ballad” and “Traditional Wailing Song of Gralka.”

In the evenings, he enjoys dancing and giggling naked through campus in the dark, crawling through air ducts in Frosh Quad, and watching over Maud Mandel while she sleeps. At 2 am he returns to the Bromfman goblin hole, where he scares away students trying to climb the construction site as part of a deal he has with Dean Sandstrom. “I’m just happy to help out anyway I can,” said Gnibheerk.

Gnibheerk’s new job has kept him quite busy, preventing him from exploring campus, but he’s hoping to get out more, and maybe even audit a few classes. “Goblins are slimy, greedy little creatures,” said Gnibheerk. “So I think I’d fit really well in an Econ class.”

For now, he’s mainly focused on getting accustomed to living at Williams. Narth has a hot desert climate, so, like students from LA, Gnibheerk is “definitely not ready for the winter, haha.” Still, music is his passion, and he’s honored to play the bells here. “I’m so happy to cast my enchantment, eventually lulling all students into a peaceful slumber, and feasting- I mean playing my jams for the campus.”


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